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  • Farm House

    January 8, 2009

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    Every time we drive to Tuna, we pass this old abandoned farm house.  I’m sure when it was built it was way out in the country, but now it’s right off the highway.

    In the 12 years I’ve been going to visit my in-laws, I have always wanted to stop and photograph it, but never did until just recently. “Next time,” I would tell myself. “Next time I’ll stop.”

    Earlier in the month, when we traveled to Tuna to bury our sweet Aunt Pearl, we stopped so I could take the picture. There’s nothing like going to a funeral to point out the folly of Next Time.

    I’m not exactly sure why this sorry old dilapidated house has captured my attention and imagination, but when we drive past it, all I can think about is how on one particular day, the sun rose in the sky and a family was excited to be moving into this brand new house.

    I think about all the joys and sorrows and victories and tragedies that played out there. And then on another appointed day,  someone closed the door on that house for the very last time and walked away.

    And it all happened in the blink of an eye.

    This old falling down farm house takes time out of the realm of the abstract, where Next Time seems reasonable,  and puts it squarely into the concrete where no one is guaranteed another day.

    And that makes me flinch just a little.

    ***
    The original picture has some sort of tarp (?) on the roof which I Photoshopped out. The original photo can be seen here if you are interested.

    52 Comments »

    1. Narelle Nettelbeck says:

      There really is something beautiful about an old home like this isn’t there? I couldn’t help but think about its past too.

      I’m glad you finally stopped for the photo.

      January 8th, 2009 at 12:35 am

    2. grammyscraps says:

      I, too, love old houses…barns, too. I always try to picture who might have lived there and what their lives were like. How hard did they have to work to stay there? Your old house is wonderful..I’m glad you finally made yourself stop.

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:04 am

    3. jen elslager says:

      What a stark reminder. (and a lovely photo!)

      All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.
      1 Peter 1:24, 25b

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:32 am

    4. Wendy says:

      I love old buildings, too. I also keep saying, I’ll stop and get a picture one of these days… Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you did stop this time!

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    5. JanMary, N Ireland says:

      I am fascintated by old buildings, and the history they hold and the stories they could tell.

      There is an old abandonned cottage near our cottage, and I love to photograph it (before it falls down). I blogged about it here http://welcometomyworldjanmary.blogspot.com/2008/05/wish-you-were-here-and-40th-birthday-in.html and here http://welcometomyworldjanmary.blogspot.com/2008/05/welcome-to-my-part-time-world-and-digi.html

      We recently also visiting my husbands old family farm cottage, while it is still standing (just!) http://welcometomyworldjanmary.blogspot.com/2008/10/show-tell-spot-difference-and-step-back.html

      Hope you don’t mind me including those links for you.

      January 8th, 2009 at 5:24 am

    6. Brigitte says:

      I love old, falling-apart farm buildings and houses, and fantasize frequently about poking around in there to further explore the past occupants’ lives. I’m so glad you took a picture! Too many times I’ve sworn to do so on some property or other, and next thing I know it’s been torn down to put in condos or something. :-p

      Not to ignore your deeper point, but you said THAT so well and succinctly, I have nothing to add to it!

      January 8th, 2009 at 5:44 am

    7. Bee says:

      Makes me flinch a little, too.

      January 8th, 2009 at 8:12 am

    8. bonniebeth says:

      “I think about all the joys and sorrows and victories and tragedies that played out there. And then on another appointed day, someone closed the door on that house for the very last time and walked away.”

      Your observation makes me think of Hebrews 9:27 “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.” NKJ I think, maybe, we realize that those old houses which were once full of life and are now just crumbling shells could represent our eartly bodies…one day our crumbling eartly bodies will be just shells for our spirits..but we do have the hope of a new eternal body which will never grow old 🙂

      I also have a favorite old crumbling house which moves me when I drive past it in Athens, LA.

      January 8th, 2009 at 8:52 am

    9. Pam says:

      I love old houses and barns too…

      January 8th, 2009 at 9:04 am

    10. Shelly W. says:

      My parents are arriving today for a funeral of a loved one who died unexpectedly this week. Your post really spoke to me because of that situation. I think I’ll link to you today.

      January 8th, 2009 at 9:25 am

    11. Kay says:

      We had a similar old house in our past and drove out to see it one time. The older relatives pointing out where a cat used to lay in the sun on the porch or where the rocking chair used to be. All those relatives are gone now. Like you said.. in the blink of an eye.

      January 8th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    12. Katherine says:

      OK, I clearly have ice water in my veins. I will be the first to note – dude, seriously – that weather vane is too cool. And **said much more quietly** must have significant salvage value.

      January 8th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    13. rrmama says:

      Great picture. I think of the same things when I pass old homes. That they were once a place of comfort and joy. There were good time and bad time there too. I often think about what the circumstances were that made them leave their home.

      January 8th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    14. Julie at Elisharose says:

      Now I need to go to my dad’s place in central Texas. We have passed this old Victorian house on the way there for the past 30 years or so. Every now and then it will look like someone tried to do something to it, but it never takes. I need to go photograph it before it is gone forever.

      January 8th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    15. zoom says:

      Great photo. I love your perspective on this.

      January 8th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    16. Joni says:

      Aunt Berthie’s house. It was a home of laughter once, and joy, and incredible sorrow. It simply fell down from neglect and THEN it was bulldozed down and burnt. It felt like someone committed unspeakable crime. Reality was it had wood rot and had to come down but the history! It can hurt the heart.
      J

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:06 am

    17. tracey says:

      I am the same way.

      Our first home that my husband and I owned together was built in 1918. It had a beam in the basement with the names of all of the families who had lived there and the dates. It had the date that electricity was added, even! I was so thrilled to write our name (in black sharpie, which was going to last longer than that faded pencil, I was sure!) on that beam.

      When we sold it to a man who owned the house next door to us, we were sad, but happy that another family would be living there. He converted it into a business. And cut down the huge pine, walnut and a few of the ancient maples to make way for the OTHER building he built after knocked down the house next door.

      I can’t even drive by it anymore. It breaks my heart…

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:06 am

    18. Nett says:

      I love to see old barns and old houses. That poor old porch roof. It’s kind of an eyesore for the pic. Is that a big windmill on top? I love those, too.

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:08 am

    19. HarryJacksMom says:

      I love ‘the folly of Next Time’ maybe that will be my NY’s resolution. Shopping at antique stores starts those same imaginings for me. It’s a beautiful picture – thanx for sharing it and the story and wonderings 🙂

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:24 am

    20. Teresa says:

      Several years ago my husband and I stopped to take photos of a tiny, abandoned house near my grandparents’ farm in Arkansas. It was nestled down in a valley in the Ozarks, with a little creek running past the front door. We looked through the windows at the newspaper-covered walls. I wish we had discovered it much earlier so that my dear Grandmother, who was an artist, could have painted that scene.

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    21. Tammy Marcelain says:

      Love it. Farmhouses make great pics.

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    22. Terri says:

      I do the same thing when I see an old farmstead or just any old house that is abandoned like that. At one time, the house was someone’s new home they were excited to move into. Was it the place someone looked forward to coming back to for the holidays? Grandma and Grandpa’s farm? Call me weird but I know there are memories for someone, maybe several generations, attached to these old place. I hope that there were more good memories than bad. Love your picture!

      January 8th, 2009 at 11:58 am

    23. Gretchen says:

      My dad likes to paint old, broken-down windmills. Your picture made me think of that. He calls them “self portraits”. Given some of his life choices, I would tend to agree; however, I still see beauty there.

      January 8th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    24. Iota says:

      Lovely reflective post. Yes, nothing is guaranteed.

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    25. Steph says:

      I agree, it’s very intriguing to ponder the past – the lives, the memories, the joys and sorrows that are the ghosts that seem to surround abandoned things of yesteryear. I knit and have a few pairs of very old knitting needles I picked up at various thrift stores. I enjoy wondering not just what kinds of things the previous owner made with those needles, but what her life was like.

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    26. Linda says:

      The photo reminds me of The Shack. Have you read that book? Take a look at the picture and a review of the book at this website… http://theshackbook.com.

      I’ve read AM every day for three years, and have recommended your site to many dear friends. Thank you.

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    27. Steffj89 says:

      i love looking at old homes and barns too…we saw some really neat ones on the way from OK to Wisconsin last summer
      steff

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    28. edj says:

      I, too, am always drawn to old abandoned farm houses.

      January 8th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    29. BlapherMJ says:

      I know what you mean…. I have passed many of the same old, abandoned houses through the years while taking the same trips over and over….. It really makes you wonder about the lives that used to be there….

      January 8th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    30. RefreshMom says:

      There are a few of those in various parts of the countryside around here. It always makes me sad to see them get to that dilapidated stage. They do make for interesting photos though. I always wonder what happened that they end up so thoroughly abandoned like that. The way things are going, my dad’s place in Michigan might end up just like it!

      PS (I haven’t checked in here since you shut the place down. Glad to see you back!)

      January 8th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    31. Jerriann says:

      I have an old house I drive by when I am going to Lubbock. I don’t know what it is about that one either but I want to photograph it every time I drive by. I also saw some horses this morning on the ranch that I wanted to photograph . . . so I think I will sign off and go take some pictures. Thank you for the inspiration or the push to not wait until next time.

      January 8th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    32. Alysa says:

      I have to say, you are just brilliant with words. I am so thankful to have happened upon your blog. I am a faithful, hooked, reader!

      January 8th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    33. Kacey says:

      The same thing happens to these earthly bodies. We start out with skin like a rose petal and eyes bright as stars. Time goes by and it takes more and more moisturizer to keep the skin from flaking off. There is snow on the roof and our eyes dull with pain as our main frames becomes arthritic. Funny, we never see it coming…underneath the wrinkles is a heart that thinks it is still 27 or 45 or even 62. I had indigestion over the weekend and a quick trip to a local hospital gave me a heart cath and a couple of stents. It’s always a surprise to know you are old enough to leave this earth and allow the walls to cave in about you. Thank goodness, God promises us new bodies in His world, but meanwhile, these bodies are like your country house… falling apart.

      January 8th, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    34. Kris says:

      I love the photo. You are so right about ‘next time’ – I am always trying to do better to live in the moment, seize the day, all that good stuff.

      I love to wonder about homes & their histories. There is a great book of short stories about the (fictional) history of one house… I don’t remember the author, but the title is “Blackbird House” -you might really enjoy it!

      January 8th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    35. Becky says:

      I always think the same thing about old houses – and old cars. There was a day when someone was excited to be the new owner. I love how it puts perspective on everything.

      January 8th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    36. Sue says:

      Beautiful words and better picture without the tarp! The tarp screams Hope for the place, though!

      January 8th, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    37. Angie says:

      Very poignant. Very thought-provoking. A good reminder to live in the moment rather than looking to the past with regret or to the future as if that’s where the real living is.

      I love the photo.

      January 8th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    38. Sally says:

      I am fascinated with old houses, too, and also wonder about the people who once lived there. Like they say, “If walls could talk”……….

      January 8th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    39. Sally says:

      By the way, I love that photo!!!

      January 8th, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    40. desi says:

      I too have a house to drive by and think the exact same things.
      I love everyone’s insight to this post too.

      January 8th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    41. Elaine - The Miss Elaine-ous Life says:

      I enjoyed your thoughts on this. I’ve seen many a house like this while driving the country roads in our great state!

      January 8th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    42. Amanda says:

      Love the photo. And this post. I think the same as you. When I see a place like this, I stare at it, and can almost ‘hear’ the sounds of children, laughter, and all family-type noises. And, a sadness washes over me. Time stands still for no one, and things are constantly changing.

      January 9th, 2009 at 8:48 am

    43. Susan J. says:

      My sister and I took a similar picture of a house in NW Arkansas. They are so interesting. That was a big, nice house at one time. It does make you wonder.

      January 9th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    44. trixiefan says:

      I think the same thing when I see an old, abandoned house. How once it was new and people lived there and raised a family and now it’s just a shell.

      January 9th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    45. sheilah says:

      Great job photoshopping out the tarp (or whatever it is). One little suggestion (and if you hadn’t shown the original I wouldn’t have even noticed) is you might want to clean up the shadow on the side of the house.

      Seeing an old house or barn always makes me wonder about who lived and worked there too.

      ***
      I know. My husband pointed out the shadow out too. I did as much as I could in the 3 minutes I had to do it. 🙂

      ~ AM

      ***
      Okay, I couldn’t stand it. I fixed it as best I could. ~ AM

      January 9th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    46. Janis says:

      I live in an old house. No, it doesn’t look like the one in your photo…yet. One of my favorite spaces in our old house is a room on the third floor that I have turned into my own sanctuary. I love to look out of the demi-lune windows down to the street below and try to imagine what the earlier residents saw from the same vantage point.

      I think of all the eras the inhabitants of this house lived through. The Great Depression,WWII, mini skirts, etc. The mothers who have kissed their babies, the children that have left and started their own lives, and how it goes on and on, broken only when one family leaves and another moves in to start their story.

      Thank you for your beautiful photo and the reminder that we need to stop along the roadside of our life, and enjoy the moment.

      January 9th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    47. junebug says:

      We think alike. Seeing old houses like the one in the picture always makes me stop and wonder about the people who lived there long ago and what their lives were like.

      My dad recently bought an old car (’55 Chevy, I think it is) and just yesterday I sat in it for the first time and thought back to more than half a century ago when it must have been a new car for a family, and the road trips they might have taken.

      January 9th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    48. Fiddledeedee says:

      I totally get you, A.M. I am also fascinated with old, falling down, abandoned farmhouses. I can see them in their former glory, and imagine the families that came and went through the unhinged door.

      Oh, and that was a solar panel that you photoshopped out. Silly A.M.

      January 10th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    49. Rivkeleh says:

      My uncle had a corvair behind the hangar in which he kept his crop-dusting planes. With a tree growing up out of it. Somewhere I have a negative of the photo I took; heaven only knows if I’ll ever find it again. But I remember going back there one day with the camera, thinking “how the heck does that happen?” It’s like he parked it one day back there, and just forgot to ever drive it again. I imagine him going back there thinking “I’ll just start her up and…” and then seeing the tree coming out of the roof. And by then, what are you going to do?

      I am cracking up at the idea that that house had a solar panel, Fiddledeedee. 😉

      January 10th, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    50. TheChickadeefeeder says:

      My dad didn’t tend to do things for us much, but once he stopped at a rocky cut through a hill that we always passed through–just so we could hop out and grab a rock from it. The traffic was pretty heavy, but every time we had passed through it, we kids longed for a rock. I’ll never forget him doing that for us.

      January 14th, 2009 at 11:24 am

    51. Roxanne says:

      Having (finally) made it into my own home, I have had similar thoughts. . .and have thought similar things about other old houses. Were they houses of happiness or sadness? What great events took place there? Were the folks who lived there sad to leave or glad to shake the dust from their feet?

      My new house is strong. It will stand a long, long time–but only if there is life inside of it.

      January 14th, 2009 at 11:45 am

    52. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

      In rural Oklahoma, we have a lot of these farmhouses usually leaning in the direction of the never ending prairie wind. I’m glad you took the photo. It’s a good reminder. Photoshopped, it could be artistic and framed, it’s so good.~~Dee

      January 23rd, 2009 at 3:15 pm

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